Decaf coffee contains more benefits

Coffee offers disease-fighting antioxidants, but caffeine additives may cause jitteriness, insomnia



While black coffee contains antioxidants, WSU’s registered dietician Alice Ma said added sugar, cream or milk can deter any benefits.

KATIE GROVES, Evergreen reporter

As many students may have noticed from the long line at the SPARK’s Starbucks, coffee seems to be a popular staple of the average person’s routine.

Aside from the locations accepting Cougar Cash, RDA, cash and cards, its convenient location makes it easy for students to fuel their love for coffee. But with a daily regime of drinking coffee, many students may not consider how healthy it really is.

WSU’s registered dietician Alice Ma shared both the benefits and disadvantages of drinking coffee on a regular basis.

“There [are] antioxidants in coffee that have been linked to decreased chance of diabetes, risk of Parkinson’s disease and many other health benefits,” Ma said.

She said these benefits can be found in both regular and decaf coffee.

Ma said drinking caffeinated coffee can cause less desirable effects. She said three to four eight-ounce cups a day is fine, with about 100 milligrams of caffeine per cup.

That being said, the amount of coffee an individual can consume daily depends on their age, weight and tolerance, Ma said. Having too much caffeine can create dependency, or a need for caffeine to function in daily life.

Ma recommended waiting at least an hour after waking up to drink coffee. This is because it takes time in the morning for your body to wake up. If after an hour you still need caffeine, you can drink it. Because caffeine can keep people up, she also discouraged drinking coffee at night.

Espresso, a concentrated form of caffeine used in specialty coffee drinks, also differs in the amount of caffeine. One shot (or 1 fluid ounce) of espresso contains about 57 milligrams of caffeine.

Several local coffee shops offer multiple shots of espresso in their drinks.

Ma said if you’re not used to caffeine intake, it can lead to insomnia, jitteriness, migraines, headaches and possibly high blood pressure.

“Coffee is also very acidic,” Ma said, “so if you drink too much it can cause [tooth] enamel to erode.”

To prevent this from happening, she recommended drinking coffee with a straw.

Ma said it’s important to be aware that most specialty coffee drinks contain additives other than just coffee — like sugar, milk and syrups.

“I feel where people slip up sometimes are the [additives that go in specialty coffee drinks],” Ma said. “If you order a mocha Frappuccino — which is sugar, cream [or] milk, whipped cream and drizzle on top — the calories add up.”

Roost Coffee Owner Mackenzie Yates said over half of Roost’s customers visit daily. She said a popular choice for most regulars who visit in the morning is drip coffee, whereas afternoon regulars tend to order specialty drinks.

Ma recommended an easy way to make your favorite drinks healthier, which is to switch from whole milk or 2 percent milk to nonfat. Trying non-dairy creamers can be helpful even if you’re not lactose intolerant.

“Individuals can use things like cinnamon to sweeten drinks instead [of] sugar,” Ma said. “Switching to half the sweetener, less cream or less whipped cream — those small changes can really add up and make a difference.”

Roost Coffee offers some of the healthy alternatives Ma recommended. They also offer other options that are unique to Roost.

“We offer three alternative milk options: hemp, soy and homemade almond,” Yates said. “We also make all of our syrups in-house using real ingredients and no preservatives.”

Yates said their homemade syrups give a different flavor experience than what most people are used to, and their lavender latte is probably the most popular Roost drink.

“Drinking coffee is such a socially acceptable norm,” Ma said, “and like everything, it is healthy in moderation.”